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~ Kathy M.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sepia Saturday #99: Uncle John Hedrick

This week's  SEPIA SATURDAY prompt is guys with musical instruments (on closer look, one of the group is a woman).  I found the photo below in my Grandma Florence Hedrick Traylor's photo album.  Though the studio imprint says Cottage Grove, I think that this was taken on the steps of the Drain Normal School.  Nobody jumps out at me, but my Mom is taking a look to see if my Uncle John or Uncle Homer are in this band.  Mom just happens to be the "Jolene" in the letter below.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

So, here is my post about my great-uncle John that I have been promising.  Uncle John is the eldest of Ben and Litha Letsom Hedrick's three kiddos.  Uncle John was a sweet, gentle all around nice guy.  They said he took after the Letsoms rather than the Hedricks, like Uncle Homer.  Grandma was a blend of both sides of the family.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Uncle John lived in Hardscrabble, Drain and then in Eugene for most of his life.  After the war he worked as a radiologist until he retired.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

During World War II, Uncle John was stationed in Brazil.  Here is one of the letters that he wrote to his sister-in-law, Flora Fletcher Hedrick in 1944.  Flora was married to John's half-brother, Hobert, and they had two boys, Lyle and Danny.  The couple later separated, and Danny died during the war.  Years later, Lyle transcribed all of the war letters that the three boys had sent back home, as well as other letters and family diaries.  I'll tell you more about that at another time.

I just picked this letter from Uncle John out randomly.  Times have changed ... people were categorized by slang and nationality; I think that is just how things were before we tried so hard to be politically correct in the way we speak.  I hope that nobody will be offended; this is just such an interesting part of history that I wanted to share it with you:

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Uncle John married Aunt Signa Woods Hedrick.  They never had children.  Aunt Signa was quite fascinating to me.  She was a telephone operator, and when I was around eight or nine, they had four phones in their home.  One of these phones was a pink Princess phone, and oh, how I wished that I had one of those for my very own!  Aunt Signa had pretty bad asthma, and there were always several little inhalers laying around.  I never knew anybody else who had even one of those.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Uncle John and Aunt Signa drove Cadillacs and had a little white poodle named Sugar.  After Sugar died, they got another one, and named her Sugar Two, aka:  Twoey.  

After Aunt Signa died, Uncle John met and married Aunt Mary.  They were a great match, and seemed to have lots of fun together. 

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

The first picture below is of Aunt Mary and Grandma T.  The second one is with Uncle John too.  These pictures were taken in the mid-80's.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Uncle John died around 1990.  He was a writer, loved his extended family, and was a very nice man.  I do miss him.  Mary lived another ten years after the died.  She was super nice.  Now, throughout our home are furniture pieces and reminders of Uncle John.

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Grammy Goodwill said...

I find these posts fascinating. I've been going through some of my folks' old pictures, but there are no letters like you are fortunate enough to have.

Hart Johnson said...

Brazil!? I didn't even realize we had troops there. My grandfather and father-in-law were both in the south pacific and my grandma actually had phonograph albums grandpa had somehow mad--I don't know if it was a recording studio, or what, but they were just spoken--letters, but recorded that way. Grandma had half a dozen pen pals in the military--said they used to send her cigarettes because they were just distributed to the troops and not all the men smoked.

I love the old pictures and history!

Little Nell said...

Kathy, you found the perfect match for Alan’s group photo! Uncle John certainly was a writer wasn’t he? Perhaps people just wrote longer letters in those days, whereas these days everything is e-mail or quick notes. The pictures of them as children are so natural.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Wonderful memories, Kathy, and a loving tribute. Thanks for sharing.

Postcardy said...

It was interesting to read the old letter. I never saw the word "goot" before and couldn't even find a definition online.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Grammy, I have mostly only had postcards up until now, but my Mom and Aunties have stocked us up with letters recently, thank goodness!

Hart, wow, to have had a love record instead of a love letter! I didn't realize the Brazil part either ... what a fun thing to research. Cary said that when he was in the Air Force in the 60's that they were still giving out free cigarettes then.

Hi Nell, I did luck out, didn't I? I could have used that picture when I did the post on the schools but decided not to. Good thing! Uncle John was a great writer, wasn't he. I can't wait to settle down to read the War Letters now.

Thank you, Lisa, I'm glad that you enjoyed this one.

Postcardy, I hadn't ever heard that term before either. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Bob Scotney said...

A fascinating post, Kathy. The band is very smart. The thing that struckme about the letter was that it was typed.
Great photos.

Martin said...

Such an honest and heart-warming post. John's letter is a fascinating read, and the photographs tell us much.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

John always seemed to have a lovely smile when his photos were taken. When I got to the end of your post and read that he was a writer, I wasn't surprised, after that wonderful letter.

barbara and nancy said...

How nice that you have such a great record of johns full and interesting life.
Nancy Javier

sEAN bENTLEY said...

I've actually been to the metropolis of Drain, but Hardscrabble? Oregonians have a way with calling it as they see it, don't they!

Alan Burnett said...

That is a wonderful story - the story of your Uncle John. And as I was reading the letter I couldn't help thinking of it as a blog post. Great presentation of sepia memories.

Mike Brubaker said...

Great use of the SS theme to find a photo thread and spin a story. The boys band is in the photo category I call the porch band, since steps made easy risers for getting all the fellows into the shot.

Anonymous said...

I don't find the letter offensive, just a reflection of how it was. Interesting read about military life. Thank you for posting!

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Thank you, everybody. Who ... that is how I felt about it too. Thanks.

Brett Payne said...

Interesting read, the language and attitude was certainly of the times!

Liz Stratton said...

Another thoroughly enjoyable post. I loved reading the letter. These bits-and-pieces of the past are what make history come alive! The perspective you provided of the times explains all.

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